Tag Archives: Arts & Culture

Family Philanthropy – How to Respond in the Economic Downturn

Imagine yourself a trustee of a charitable foundation. It is your job to collaborate with 11 other trustees to decide how to distribute charitable funds to organizations that have requested your support. In a typical year you would have $1 million to distribute but the requests this year amount to $2.5 million. All the organizations have proven themselves to be effective in contributing to the social and financial well being of some of the poorest citizens.  Your job is to choose how to distribute those dollars.

Your decisions will be informed by written analysis provided by competent program officers who have conducted all the “due diligence” on the organizations making sure the administration is solid, that the board is contributing to the operational expenses and that the financials are in order.

The meeting begins and you are informed that due to the economic collapse, the money you have to give out is reduced from $1 million this quarter, to a mere $350,000. You know that some of these organizations and the great programs they deliver will receive much less funding from you than in prior years. Other organizations will not likely survive because your past grants gave a credibility to them that enabled them to leverage funds from other foundations and some governments.

Included on the list are: The Second Harvest Food Bank (read their intro page)

Also, there  are several requests to support alternatives to failing public schools like those described in my favorite HBO series The Wire.

Given the crisis in education in public schools and knowing that each year thousands of  young people are lost, do you consider the request from  schools like those of the  Cristo-Rey network that are transforming the lives of children and families in inner city neighborhoods.   These schools like other faith-based receive no State support and will not survive without private individuals and  foundation support.  The total requested from four of these schools is $125,000.

In the Health and Social Services areas, there is  a request from  Providence House that provides a shelter for homeless women and their infants. They need a new roof on the building which costs $150,000.

Then there is the Youth Arts Program for schools.  Without the support of the foundation they will have to cut their artist in residency programs in schools.  Children in seven targeted  public schools will NOT get any exposure to art curriculum unless they get at least $50,000.

There is the Free Clinic, serving the needs of the ever-expanding number of medically uninsured and underinsured.   They have asked for $50,000 to assist with a pharmacy respository that will provide desparately needed medicines to those in need, especially the alarming number of uninsured patients with clinical mental illness.

Their counterpart, the Federally Funded Community Health Center lost out on a $700,000 federal grant they hoped to secure and must now ask for $250,000 to help them get through a cash flow challenge.

There are many other worthy organizations on the list.

So, how do you make your decisions?

Direct all money to the Second Harvest Food Bank that will provide another six months of food to hungry families? What about that great faith-based schools which over the past ten years accepted children from failing public schools and in one year provides remediation that gets them to grade-level reading and math. Ninety-eight percent of their children go to college whereas their friends who remain in the public schools drop out or fail to graduate and never get to college.

Do you direct all money to the free clincs to help the unisured.  What happens next year when they ask again but at increased levels?

Trustees at the foundation I work with will be faced with very similar situations when we meet. This will not be the first time difficult decisions are to be made, but the current economic climate has made it even more difficult.

Family foundations function under a  set of rules established by the Federal government and the Internal Revenue Service.  The States Attorney General has the duty to make sure the charitable institutions are registered and that they are complying with the federal regulations.  The State Attorney General has the power to revoke the charitable status of an organization.  If you are interested in the federal rules and regulations on foundations and nonprofits Marion Freemont-Smith’s book, Governing Nonprofit Organizations: Federal and State Law and Regulation,is by far the most comprehensive.

Briefly, the  government allows families of wealth to establish foundations as charitable entities .  Instead of going to the government as taxes, this money is invested in with managers and typically include a mixed portfolio that inclues equities (stocks) and fixed income (bonds).  Whereas taxes would collect the dollars and direct them to general funds for immediate needs, foundation dollars are invested with the hope that they would earn between 10 and 17% interest on the principal.  Rather than congressional representatives appropriating laws that will spend tax dollars, family foundations are overseen by  citizens who serve as stewards of these funds.  They are charged with allocating those funds, just as congressional representatives approve laws that allocate funds for many projects, including bridges to nowhere 🙂

The IRS is very specific about how these foundation funds must be directed.  For the most part only agencies that IRS determines to be charitable entieis are eligible recipients of foundation dollars.  There are exceptions for individuals but in all cases, the funds must be used for charitable purposed or to benefit the community at large.

As stewards the trustees must abide by the government rule that requires of minimum of 5% of the interest earnings on the endowment must be “paid-out” for the benefit of the community.  So, a family foundation with $100 million dollars must pay out an  minimum of $5 million year on a rolling average of three years.   Ninety-nine and 44/100% of family foundations I know take their job VERY seriously.  Distributing $5 million responsibly to worthy institutions is a complicated endeavor.  Doing it well requires time, research analysis.  There are a few stories of foolish and/or ignorant foundation trustees that misappropriated funds for their own enrichment.  The press loved those stories which resulted in an expensive and public witch hunt against foundations and people of wealth headed by a federal bureaucrat named Dean Zerby serving as  Sancho Panza to the quixotic and self-aggrandizing  Sen. Chuck Grassley.  Fortunately most legislators have realized the value philanthropy plays in this country and the punitive legislative responses by Sen. Grassley have subsided for the moment.

One useful way to understand how philanthropic decisions can be made by trustees of family foundations or by individuals for that matter is the Philanthropy Toolbox which I believe was developed out the Center on Philanthropy at University of Indiana.   The toolbox is really a spectrum of philanthropy that categorizes types of philanthropic giving.  I used the following slide show to demonstrate the types of giving.

Philanthropy Toolbox

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: civicfabric philanthropy)

The categories serve as headers and we “plot” all grant requests under each of the categories to get a sense of where the family is directing its giving.   This exercise allows the trustees to see where they have concentrated their giving over periods of time.  Of the organizations I described above, think of where you would place them among the categories within the toolbox.  The try to determine which request and category on the spectrum would give one organization priority over another.  Now you have entered the world of a family foundation trustee.

All the requests that come to the trustees for consideration are organizations that are doing great work and having positive impact on the lives of people they serve.   Decisions as to where to allocate funds and why can be personal and vary from one individual to another.  What makes foundations exciting places to work is that each person shares his or or reason for making the decisions they do.  the others listen to their points . Some agree and some don’t.  Debate is likely to ensue.  At the end of the meetings decisions are arrived not by secret ballot but by consensus.  On other occasions, I have described board meetings to be similar to deliberations by congressional delegations either federal or state.  Trustees are usually people of varying backgrounds and even level of wealth.  They range on the political spectrum and have deeply held passions.  Representatives from one generation often have points of view and interests that differ from their parents; so in many ways their portraits reflect the diversity of opinion, character and even race that one sees among citizens serving in elected office.  The image of foundation trustees as a homogeneous club of bow-ties and boiled wool is simply not true.  It is a miniature version of any civic organization gathered to enhance the common good.

The economic crisis is placing pressure on State, Federal and local governments budgets that have not been seen since the early 20th Century.  Scarce resources may place pressure on family foundations in the cross-hairs of government and question whether they and their endowments should continue to exist.  This is a challenging question that was discussed recently at a conference at the National Center for Family Philanthropy.  One of the sessions addressed the role of family philanthropy in a democratic society.  It is worth listening to the panel moderated by my colleague Lance Lindblom, Director of the Nathan Cummings Foundation.

If you were to be part of the decisionmaking on the board, you would be reminded that the Federal government requires a minimum payout of 5%.  You and board could make a decision to pay well beyond the 5% minimum to meet the needs of the community in times of economic distress.  Of course one would need to balance generosity with prudence.  Anyone who creates a foundation must be an optimist by nature.  Doing so assumes that a carefully managed endowment will grow and will remain as an asset to draw upon to help those in need and, at times, support innovative and creative programs that challenge the status quo.  The two brothers Eric and Evan Nord who established the Nord Family Foundation were men of profound optimism and faith in the community.  They were known to say on many occasions, when the times are difficult the foundation has a responsibility to make sure it does not cut back on grantmaking, but be extra careful about directing funds that will have the greatest impact on the community.  Most importantly, the funding should challenge the larger community to give what they can – personal giving – that will help their neighbors.  With that in mind, I anticipate some of our grantmaking in the future will be challenge grants that will require others to give of themselves in either money or time.

Your decision to choose one group over the other is neither right nor wrong. Just the fact you bothered to read this far into the blog reflects your own interest in philanthropy and giving. Your thoughts of giving to benefit the lives of others honors not only those you consider, but yourself.  I leave you with a quote by Thomas Jefferson

The good opinion of mankind, like the lever of Archimedes, with the given fulcrum, moves the world.

Philanthropy Social Software and Multi-User Virtual Environments

The National Center for Technology Innovation (NCTI) held an annual conference in mid-November.  There was a gathering of some of the most innovative thinkers in figuring out ways to make use of technology to enhance education and nonprofits, but more importantly to introduce ways in which these technologies can make curriculum  and everyday computer use accessible to people who are blind, deaf or even cognatively challenged. It was tremendously exciting to be with people who are not only passiontate but practical in making the lives of the “dis-abled” easier.

What one sees in attending the conference and its Tech-Expo is the spectacular proliferation of new social media and its potential to enhance learning.  It is clear that these technologies have had unimaginable impact on companies in their ability to achieve efficiency and increased market share. Despite amazing advances in social media or “web-2.0” technologies, the global society is only beginning to see the implications of increased computer capacity and interconnectivity. In an impressive presentation by Gregg Downey eSchool News, we were introduced to the shift from the phase of Parallel Computing in which one computer server handles the information input of an organization or company, to the more exciting phase of Cloud Computing in which multiple servers share and sort information with unimaginable speed.

Despite this tremendous innovation pubic schools and the nonprofit sector lag behind pathetically. Philanthropy and program officers have a responsibility to be aware of these tools to seek out opportunities where investments in the application of these tools can, create greater efficiencies in nonprofits.

One of the main obstacles to philanthropy taking the lead here is too many programs officers do not realize the potential because they do not use them and/or have no idea of what is out there. Too many of us use the computer as that thing on which you get e-mail, go to websites, maybe read the paper and occasionally chuckle at funny YouTube videos – not much else when it comes to the tools. Shared learning is the primary attractions of social software to philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. Unfortunately, the sector has not thusfar done a good job of doing that but hopefully things will change soon.

Blogs, wiki’s twitters, and to some extent photo sharing such as Flickr are forms of shared knowledge with transforms into learning. Tagging is a means of coding that enables others to reference your area. If a program officer keeps a written blog on site visits and brings up issues of concern to the community such as “foreclosure” that blog can be tagged and others who have interest in foreclosure will be directed to that blog post and able to comment or share relevant information.  Similarly, if a nonprofit director keeps a blog about challenges to the organization, tagging is a way others can find you and, in an ideal situation, offer advice, help or assistance).   In many cases responses can come from around the world.  The power of these tools however is that, put in the hands of creative people, uses I cannot imagine can emerge. (For an extraordinary discussion on this topic, I recommend David Weinberger’s Everything is Miscellaneous).

Truth is however, this is a sector that does not know how to share information well.  Some foundations fund and produce research that is published in remarkably slick folders.  Large foundations such as Ewing Marion Kaufmann, to name one, do a stunning job producing documents on education and innovation.  Unfortunately, few high school teachers or even university professors can access this information easily.   I chose Kaufmann only because I had the pleasure to hear Dennis Cheek, Education Program Director, give a remarkably exciting presentation on use of Games in Education at a conference by Philanthropy Roundtable in November.  There is simply too much great research by foundations that is not getting out there.  The Cleveland Foundation and the Gund Foundation in Cleveland jointly published an important document on schools in Cleveland called, Cleveland Schools That are Making a Difference.   The document covers schools, private and public that are transforming the lives of students.  In my opinoin the document has not had follow-up primarily because what it takes to produce a great school cannot be easily accomplished within traditional public schools.  The tenents of making these schools work, despite having little or no State support is that they have administrative structures that threaten the way school has always been done.  A region-wide or even national conversation is simply too threatening to public entities especially those that have to deal with the political powers that hamper real progress in public schools.  A web-based discussion would be great way to start.  But we have seen in that a public blog on public schools can be too threatening to public school officials and school board members.  One experience was the Oberlin Community Diaries which opened a public blog for the town to discuss a tax levy for laptops.  The site had over 500 contributions in the first month but when conversation became threatening, most school board members shut out the conversation, the superintendent stopped participating.  School officials stated publicly that they would respond only to conversation in a school board meeting (Tuesday nights at 6 pm when many parents are unable to attend).  Later the school created its own blog.  It was readily transparent that conversation there could be controlled much easier and was therefore less threatening.   Control of information is an issue that policy makers and even foundations will have to address in years to come.  Information is power.  Few of us like to loose control of power, especially those who hold the purse strings.  That is another topic for another post, but if you want to jump ahead, Everything is Miscellaneous, The Black Swan by Nassim Nicolas, and Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky are great examples of how the new flow of knowledge is changing many presuppositions about the locus of knowledge control).

The NCTI offered a few great sessions on the Multi-User Virtual Environments (MUVE).  Herein lies another area program officers need to understand . These are immersive learning environments that have remarkable application to the health, education and business sectors. Despite the boom in the multi-billion dollar gameing  industry, few people in positions of funding responsibility understand the impact these and other technology tools have on transforming education, health care and the social environments in which we live. New organizations like Serious Games Director Ben Sawyer is a brillant and earnest advocate who merits serious consideration and note.  There is also Games for Change sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundations Journalism Program are informing nonprofits and schools on games such as Peacemaker, Free Rice, Budget Hero (to name only a few) because these environments provide important educational and collaborative tools for learning.  Games for Change  Director, Alex Quinn informed the audience that when former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor realized that more people knew the American Idol judges than the judges on the Supreme Court, she became a participant in the development of a prgram with Georgetown University called Our Courts. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pioneer program is developing exciting uses of games to promote health not only with young people but for retired individuals. RWJ’s Pioneer program does have a blog that invites the world to submit their innovative ideas on improving health care and health care delivery.

A challenge facing the gaming groups is how to help teachers assess these learning tools to be included as part of a students overall learning portfolio. Chris Dede from the Harvard Graduate School of Education introduced the audience to the Harvard River City Project.  This multi-user enviornment includes features that will enable the participant to write, blog and chat.  These are features which put in the hands of creative teachers will be easily and readly assess-able to determine how the user understands the content.  The powers that be simply have to allow teachers to experiment with the tools and trust that with their intelligence and creativity the means to develop assessment tools will emerge.  Unfortunatly, the likihood of this happening in the nation’s public schools is not high at the moment.

In my work with the OGF Education Work group I recommended Clayton Christensen’s book Disrupting Class. I suggest everyone in this sector should take the time to read it. particular interest is Dr. Christensen’s discussion of the role disruptive technologies are having in the way people learn in ways that were unimaginable before innovations in social networking.

The Pew Internet& American Life Project is producing important research on applications these games have in the lives of young people and their teachers.  All teachers, superintendents and administrators should read these reports carefully.  One day maybe public television and radio will dedicate a show or even a program on this topic which is of such profound importance to American education.

Philanthropy can have an important role in working to usher responsible and effective use of these important tools to a sector that if given the opportunity will make highly creative application of them to serve the larger society.

Non-formal Education Institutions – A New Model for Educational Programming for Cleveland 2008

This week, residents of Northeast Ohio were made aware of the fact that the Cleveland schools have slipped back a notch in the Ohio Department of Education’s ratings from Effective to Academic Watch. The supposed good news is that graduation rates have improved slightly over last year’s rank, which was third worst in the nation among large cities in the United States.

What a painful indictment to Cleveland’s alleged creative class; an indictment made more poignant by the fact that the greater Cleveland area boasts one of the richest concentrations of world-class arts and science museums and institutions in the country, if not the world. Each of these institutions – The Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Museum of Natural History, and the Great Lakes Science Center, to name only a few – have well developed educational outreach programs. Each hires staff of impressive academic background and expertise in their respective fields. Although they are not formal schools they are by any measure educational institutions that, though underutilized, have the potential to revolutionize the way learning can take place in the “formal” setting of public schools. There is an increasing body of research that confirms the most effective teachers are those who have degrees in the disciplines they teach. Too many teachers, especially those in the natural sciences, do not have the appropriate academic preparation to teach their classes. Across town, however, most of the “non-formal” educational institutions have staff with advanced degrees in the appropriate subject areas. These superbly trained personnel develop sophisticated and up-to-date curriculum that complements the science or art exhibits in their institutions. These educators have made sure that this curriculum also complements the Ohio State Standards and grade-level tests. Despite these tremendous curricular programs, these educators experience deep frustration due to their inability to create sustainable curricular linkages that are fully integrated with the public schools. Despite significant funds from foundations, non-formal educators rely on the one teacher or the one school building that bothers to make the effort to figure out how to make the best use of the resource in the classroom. A better use of technology – much of which is open source and therefore quite affordable – can break this cycle of educational inertia. Educational technology has created a shift from the old “teacher-centric” system to one that must be re focused on learning. Policymakers must embrace this change.

Barbara Ganley, an educator formerly at Middlebury College, writes:

The world has changed: the classroom has not. Our students, as native inhabitants of cyberspace, take for granted what teachers may yet have to learn: the astounding possibilities for creative and collaborative endeavors facilitated by the Web. We even ignore research suggesting that learning is essentially a social activity. […] The traditional classroom paradigm is also being challenged, not so much by the faculty who have by and large optimized their teaching effort and their time commitments to a lecture format, but by students. Member of today’s digital generation of students have spent their early lives immersed in robust, visual, electronic media- home computers, video games, cyberspace networks and virtually reality. They expect-indeed demand-interaction, approaching learning as a ‘plug-and-play’ experience. They are unaccustomed and unwilling to learn sequentially- to read the manual- and instead are plunging in and learning through participation and experimentation. […] In a very real sense, they build their own learning environments that enable interactive, collaborative learning whether we recognize and accommodate this or not.

Despite wonderful efforts in Cleveland (such as academies and magnet schools), the data after one year points to more fundamental flaws in the system. Surely technology will not solve all of Cleveland’s educational problems, but we as a community are not giving ourselves the time and energy to assess the resources available to us right now and harness them in recalibrating the way we approach LEARNING in our schools. OneCommunity in downtown Cleveland is an ambitious project offering high speed internet access to schools across NE Ohio. OneCommunity’s alliance with the Cleveland Clinic’s Real World Connect has rolled out a program incorporating interactive technologies to enhance science learning in schools across NE Ohio. Similarly, the Idea Center, with its unique access to a variety of media, also serves as a center for untapped potential on creative use of web tools. Much of this material costs money, but new platforms are currently available to make current texts and related science material available to teachers for free. Making better use of web-based technology known as social software and blending it with the arts and science curriculum in a variety of rich, non-formal educational institutions is a challenge Governor Strickland should consider seriously as he thinks of innovative ways to usher quality education into Ohio schools. Blogs and wikis are creating robust communities of learners among teachers and students. Virtual reality gaming such as SecondLife™, Eve™ and World of Warcraft™ are being used by colleges throughout the country to teach a variety of subjects, from botany to art appreciation. A famously innovative adaptation of SecondLife™ has enabled students at the Harvard Law School to co-learn with students at the Extension School – linking a divergent student body in a cooperative learning process. At Boston College, the MediaGrid has launched an exciting virutal world of what is now called “Immersive Learning.”

Most adults and, especially policy makers, do not understand that these games actually challenge youngsters in rather sophisticated critical thinking and negotiation skills. Tapped correctly, virtual learning environments can incorporate appropriate learning cues that textbooks were written (on paper) to convey. The problem that schools need to overcome is the apparent separation of the technology from the curriculum. Too many schools and teachers defer the technology to the back office, usually headed by “the tech guys.” Not understanding the tools, teachers, parents and policymakers view the tools as frightening and potentially damaging to young minds. Rather than try to understand its applications, their impulse is to shut it down. An emerging group of educators have dubbed the phenomenon Fear 2.0.

The symptoms of Fear 2.0 are easy to spot. Teachers and especially administrators panic because the new technologies introduce a system of learning that makes the old model of “testing” and “assessment” untenable. The new and emerging learning technologies are an enormous threat to a bureaucracy that has developed one “standard” of assessment which contradicts brain research and new understandings of how young people learn.

The Idea Center’s SMART Consortium have addressed this problem by introducing teacher training programs for an assessment model that focuses away from Assessment of Learning to Assessment for Learning. In short, Assessment for Learning helps teachers to actively engage students in their own academic progress, developing student attitudes toward learning and an internalized, self-guided approach to evaluation that will serve them throughout their lives and careers in a rapidly changing future. The kids are using these technologies already. The adults need to stop fearing these tools, but make aggressive moves to better understand their use in teaching and learning. New ways for assessment can be developed.

Making these desperately needed changes is unlikely to take place within the ossified structure of the way public schooling is delivered to the community. Philanthropy can provide a unique role in pushing this agenda forward. The reasons are many, but the dissonance is rooted in an appalling lack of understanding of the power of these web-based tools and their ability to enhance writing and critical thinking skills. Too many teachers and administrators use the computer as the ‘thing’ on which you get e-mail and look at websites. The emphasis on standardized testing has done more harm to critical thinking among students than any legislated mandate in the history of education. Standards are fine, but the methods to assess learning are outdated, and ignore the powerful developments in social software that can truly enhance learning.

This region needs a community-wide discussion to help parents; teachers and administrators really understand these tools and their potential for truly transforming education in Cleveland and its surrounding area. I believe the non-formal science and arts sector, in collaboration with OneCommunity and the Idea Center can be catalysts in working with the school superintendents and the Governor to push this agenda forward. We can and must make better use of easy-to-use technologies that will make it possible to bring our best trained scientists and artists (physically located at University Circle) “into” schools to link up with teachers and students to form new types of learning communities. Moving beyond fear requires a commitment of time and money. We need to understand the potential that arts, science and cultural entities can truly have on improving learning among our young people. Doing so will take enormous courage to take on a system that will resist this change. It will take financial support from the philanthropic and government sectors. Most important, it will take leadership from academics in both K-12 and higher ed to work together and explore how these tools will create a seamless web for learning that goes from preschool through higher ed. The time is now.

Education and Technology: A role for philanthropy

The more I visit schools and hear about the challenges for teaching, the more I am convinced that educators must move VERY quickly to make better use of the phenomenal technologies that are available to them. I have met teachers who understand how it works and are transforming the engagement of students in their schools. One sharp high schooler made reference to a teacher that integrated blogging and open-source voice-over IP into the language curriculum. ‘By making these tools available to us, she changed us from students into scholars!”

I remember Eric Nord, entrepreneur and philanthropist extraordinaire, once cautioned our trustees saying that people in the foundation world tended to be risk averse. I find this to be true with far too many of my colleagues from foundations who tend to be surprisingly hesitant about pushing the technology and learning agenda in schools. There are exceptions of course. The work of people at the Hewlett Foundation and the George Lucas Foundations are leaders in seeking innovative solutions to the challenges facing teaching and learning in our nation’s public schools. Edutopia, published by the Lucas Foundation provides examples of how technology serves to usher in new ways that students can learn.

I think that high-stakes testing in schools and even the way States try to fix “the standards” are thwarting creativity in the classroom. Worse, is the system of so-called “assessment” which is emerging as a orgy of testing that focuses on a fixed moment of time in a child’s development. Rather than seeing learning as a process, current assessment tools serve the needs of statisticians but not teachers. Therein lies one of the huge rifts in our systems. There is a bureaucracy in the Departments of Education that appear to fetish-ize data collection and assessments and then there is the teacher in the classroom who feels pressured by the “officials” to give the tests and report back. The current system is an abomination, yet we in the philanthropic field, for the most part feel the need to tinker with the current system rather than seek out and then support systems that promote real learning.

We cannot ignore the power of social software an its impact on the future of education of young people in our schools. Appropriate use of technology can and will result in budgetary savings. One area alone is the textbook frenzy. In Ohio schools, the yearly budget for one students text book is $900 per student. One of my favorite websites is TED. Check the following website that talks about how technology can change the way a school system deals with textbooks in schools. Check out the
I also suggest you visit the Federation of American Scientists site and browse their research on education technology.
Reference related studies by the Federation of American Scientists

Most of my colleagues use their computer in the following ways: 1. an expensive electric typewriter, 2. The thing on which you get and read your e-mail. 3. The thing on which you can occasionally shop. 4. A resource to read information that are typically brochure-like websites.

In addition to philanthropy program officers, too many teachers are comfortable with very antiquated forms of communication such as e-mail and do not understand the new technologies and impact they are having on teaching and learning. They really need to be challenged by visionary superintendents and principles to explore how the tools can enhance learning. More importantly, teachers and education leaders need to understand the way to assess learning with these tools is almost impossible given current assessment tools. Learning with and through technology (especially with the use of e-portfolios) allows teachers to view learning as a process rather than a static moment in time, which is what the current system uses. It is like the difference between viewing a students process on carefully edited video presentation, opposed to a series of photos.

In my opinion, Philanthropy can play an important role by providing teachers and school building leaders with opportunities for focused professional development in these areas. Concentrated programs bringing teachers and software program developers on a regular basis would serve the enhance education tremendously.

We in the philanthropy field do ourselves a great disservice (not to mention our grantees) by NOT engaging in conversations about these important technological tools that are changing the very lives our young people experience…..except in public schools! We cannot allow ourselves to become complacent in this area. I welcome comments.